By Senashia Ekanayake
It’s ironic how the world’s poorest countries are those severely affected by climate change. With the Himalayas in place and the countries’ proximity to the equator, climate change is an issue we are to deal with right here, right now. A recent article in the World Bank that quoted the IPCC fourth Assessment Report provided specific climate change impacts to the South Asian region:
However, the questions among most South Asians, what are the countries’ governments doing about it?
The recently concluded ‘South Asian Parliamentarians and Policymaker’s at Work’ regional conference in Islamabad, Pakistan perhaps renewed a dying cause for environmentalism within the region that has not been addressed in the recent past by the region’s official representative body. The crux of the conference was based on climate change solidarity and included the potential exchange of environmental knowledge, mitigation and adaptation schemes and programmes pertaining to managing forests and rivers and renewable technology.
On the contrary, climate experts in the region silently debate another issue: if it is adequate for countries to combat climate change within the boundaries of their state?
The World Bank article features a dialogue with LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Sir Nicholas Stern who restates the importance of the region’s positioning and vulnerability caused by the Himalayas, coastal areas and dependency on agriculture.
“Precipitation comes, and it’s held there. That’s how you get water in the rivers. That effect will not be there if the glaciers and snow are not there. Which means you’ll get torrents during the wet season and dry rivers in the dry season. So you’ll get a combination of flood and drought,” Stern said.
Furthermore, the region is subject to immense global political pressure primarily due to three reasons:
While individual organisations are conducting a number of programmes and researching on key concerns of the area, it is also important for these events to be kept track of and for research to be translated to something beyond a journal publication, if climate change is to be addressed as a collective concern.
Senashia Ekanayake is a writer, an advocate of Arts, Education and climate change activist. She read for her degree in English, dabbled in the corporate world and is now involved with CANSA Communications.